Surprise! Wasteful Government Spending Abounds in Recent Omnibus Bill

April 30, 2018

by Terry Schilling


This article is part of a series focusing on Lens of Liberty, a project of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation

In her Liberty Minute titled “Love My Dog,” Helen Krieble identifies a major problem with the federal government:

A veterinarian in Massachusetts is studying how women react when they’re shown photographs of their children and their dogs. She hopes to find out whether mothers love their dogs as much as their children.

Like millions of Americans my dog is a treasured family member and a reliable companion, so why does that relationship require scientific study? The federal government paid $370,000 for it. If federal administrators would look through the lens of liberty before giving out millions of dollars worth of these silly grants, they would realize the source of the money. It comes from the taxes of hard-working Americans who already know without a government study how much we love our dogs.

Expenditures as ridiculous as this may seem amusing until the underlying problem becomes clear: government seemingly has no problem wasting taxpayer dollar on trivial or even harmful projects. And while the executive branch certainly bears part of the blame, Congress is also at fault for its failure to carefully steward America’s finances. Nowhere has this been manifested more clearly than in the omnibus funding bill passed earlier this year.

As our readers may recall, in March Congress passed a $1.3 billion funding bill to keep the government open. While the measure was considered necessary at the time, there were glaring concerns about certain spending provisions in the bill. President Trump stressed that while his signature was necessary to provide the military the funding that it needed, he would never sign another bill that so wastefully spent taxpayer dollars.

Many organizations have pointed out specific wasteful spending provisions in the bill. For example, the Heritage Foundation drew attention to an increase in Department of Education funding by $3.9 billion despite White House requests to decrease its budget, $1 billion for improvements in little visited airports, and $400 million in FEMA funding without much needed reforms. These are just a few of many unnecessary expenditures that, when added up, cause the government to vastly overspend.

Of course, arguably the largest misuse of federal funds in the bill was the $500 million of taxpayer money it awarded to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Continuing such significant government funding of an organization that performs over 300,000 abortions a year is not only wasteful, but also an utter travesty.

Fortunately, although the omnibus bill passed, it only funds the government through September 30th, at which point Congress will have to revisit the issue. President Trump and conservatives in Congress must, as Krieble puts it, “look through the lens of liberty” and take care before they continue to lavish taxpayer funds on undeserving projects and organizations. Furthermore, American citizens must hold their political leaders accountable and insist that such irresponsible spending must end if these leaders hope to stay in office.


Terry Schilling is executive director of the American Principles Project.

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